Townsville City Council will implement a new hardship policy to help ratepayers who may be struggling to pay their rates because of natural disasters or other circumstances outside of their control.
“In recent years, our community has suffered some serious setbacks – firstly with last year’s unprecedented monsoon and, more recently, the COVID-19 global pandemic,” Cr Hill said.
“Council takes seriously its responsibility to support the community when times get tough.
“By adopting this hardship policy, Council can now activate concessions for landowners in the Townsville local government area where there is a demonstrable need immediately and will no longer require a resolution to be passed by Council.
“We want to provide any support or relief we can to our community during these tough times, and although we have already deferred the due date on rates for the upcoming rates run, adopting this policy will make it easier to implement this in the future.”
Governance and Finance committee chairperson Kurt Rehbein said the Hardship Concessions Policy included measures for both deferring rates and organising payment plans for affected residents and landowners.
“The concessions adopted in this policy include the deferral of the due date of rates, something which Council has done to support the community by passing resolutions in Council previously, or the implementation of interest-free payment plans,” Cr Rehbein said.
“Importantly, this policy can be applied on a case-by-case basis for landowners that may be experiencing individual hardship due to circumstances that are out of their control – this means that there is flexibility for when this policy can be enacted to support residents.